We note that the dossier did not mention a current threat from plague, because the JIC concluded that the intelligence on plague was not sufficiently firm.
No evidence of Iraqi possession or production of plague has been found since the war.
In the approach to the first Gulf war, several JIC assessments noted that Iraq had developed and used, in the Iran-Iraq war, a mustard agent in ‘dusty’ form. UK experts were able to examine a munition filled with ’dusty mustard’ from the Iran/Iraq war.
Over the following two years, JIC assessments mentioned ‘dusty mustard’ four times, usually in the context of Iraqi failure to declare the agent or failure by UNSCOM inspectors to find it. After February 1993, the subject disappeared from JIC history. As far as we can determine, UNSCOM did not find any evidence of ‘dusty mustard’, although in April 2002 Robert D Walpole, Special Assistant to the US Director of Central Intelligence for Persian Gulf War Illnesses, reported that:
UNSCOM information shows no research or production of dusty agents in the years prior to the war,although a hand-written note found by UNSCOM inspectors indicated that an Iraqi was considering the idea in the late 1980s.
Plague and ’dusty mustard’ were just two of the many biological and chemical threats on which the intelligence community had to keep watch in the period before the first Gulf war, and subsequently.
The intelligence on their availability to Iraq in 1990 and 1991 rested on a small number of reports and the evidence derived from examination of a
In August 2002 and again in March 2003, the DIS assessed that plague was “probably available” to Iraq. We note that this judgement was stronger than that of the JIC. It is understandable that intelligence assessments made in the period immediately before a conflict should reflect worst case assumptions, but we have seen no intelligence that would support this stronger judgement. We were told that, in the absence of new and plausible information categorically ruling out the original 1990 reporting, it was not possible to exclude plague from Iraq’s biological warfare inventory.
In October 2002, the JIC said:
rted in n and
We judge that Iraq is self-sufficient in its BW programme and currently has available, either from pre-Gulf War stocks or more recent production,anthrax spores , botulinum toxin,aflatoxin,and possibly plague and ricin.
Iraq created forged documents the late 1980s,specifically for probably plague.
to account for bacterial growth media,impo the production of anthrax,botulinum toxi
[JIC, 28 October 2002]
The Government’s dossier of September 2002 mentioned plague only once, in an historical context: